Our Big Aquariums arrived today!

Display Aquarium Arrival - In Place

After months of planning, questioning, debating acrylic versus glass, design and then waiting anxiously… Our new local species display aquariums arrived today!  Everyone here was like kids at Christmas.   They look beautiful!

From Left to Right – our new retail counter which pushes back to be out of the way for events, a digital sign above the display space.  Each tank is approximately 800 gallons and filled will be a total more than 22000 lbs!  They are positioned over top of the back wall for additional support.  We are very happy that we were able to have these gorgeous tanks built on Vancouver Island by Wayne Etherington of Seastar Aquarium Products  Ltd.

The left tank will represent soft bottom habitat in Baynes Sound with sand, eelgrass, shellfish and the fish and invertebrates one would experience in the shallow subtidal in front of local beaches.

The right hand tank will represent local sandstone rock fish reefs like you would find off Denman Island and in particular the iconic Chrome Island Lighthouse.  The back of this tank will shortly be receiving a sandstone wall.

There is a lot to building and maintaining big habitat aquaria, although by most standards these are small tanks.   During the design process we received lots of great and generous advice from the Vancouver Aquarium and Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre.  We’ve also been arranging for scientific collection permits, animal  care and veterinary certification and on and on.

Now the fun begins, next is building a back work area, finishing carpentry and millwork, plumbing and electrical.  We’ve built a big quarantine tank downstairs and we’ll start our collections soon too.  We hope to have everything up and running sometime in June.  We’ll have a big celebration when we are done.  Then on to the big Jellyfish tank planned for the conference room!

This is a really big and expensive project for us that has been assisted by some key donations.  Its a project that we feel will have lasting value by educating and informing the local and visiting public about the wealth and importance of local species found on our shores.  With our touch tanks downstairs we’ll work to build knowledge and respect that will lead to more recognition of the importance and conservation  of the local marine environment that sustains us.

If you are interested in helping us with this and other projects or sponsorship opportunities please contact us at the station or contact William Litchfield, Director Advancement & Alumni Relations, Vancouver Island University 900 Fifth St., Nanaimo, BC, V9R 5S5  | Tel: 250.740.6602 |Fax: 250.740.6491 William.Litchfield@viu.ca

Below some photos from the day!  Stay tuned to follow the development.

Display Aquarium Arrival 1

Coming off the truck. No one nervous at all.

Display Aquarium Arrival

and down the ramp on a specially made base with wheels.

Display Aquarium Arrival

We planned for it to fit under the door and it did.  No one had doubts.. really… On the left is Steve Biro from the Deep Bay Ship and Shore Cafe who came up to add some greatly appreciated muscle.

Display Aquarium Arrival 9

Followed by some ooohing and Ahhing..

Display Aquarium Arrival 11 - coming off cart

Then some teamwork and grunting as we had to slide it off the cart onto the base that Max had built in advance.

Group Happy Snap after the install

Then a group happy snap (although Steve had already bolted to get back to the cafe). Left to Right: Trevor Grozell from AJ Project Management who came up to run the forklift (thanks!), Deshveer (MBA Intern pressed into service), Max, Emily (returning summer student), Wayne Etherington (Seastar Aquariums), Brian (yours truly), Shannon (2012 Summer student), Sarah, Shaun (2012 Summer student), Stephanie and Francisco (visiting researcher from Brazil).

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2 Responses to “Our Big Aquariums arrived today!”

  1. Why are we so excited about this sandstone wall? « VIU Deep Bay Marine Field Station Updates Says:

    […]   This sandstone wall will be habitat for our “hard substrate” aquarium habitat.  One of two large aquariums we are installing to showcase marine life found in Baynes Sound.  We’re so impressed, staff are having a hard […]

  2. Come see our new display aquaria! « VIU Deep Bay Marine Field Station Updates Says:

    […] Aquarium, Shaw Discovery Centre and Ucluelet Aquarium (thanks all!), our new aquariums are installed, running and getting stocked.  We’re pretty excited, distracted by them too and hope […]


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